Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Vest

It started with an innocent share of an advertisement from Craftsy a sale on a class for a Fair Isle Vest.  Admittedly I'm not a vest person, however I am fascinating by the process of knitting Fair Isle, and even more fascinated to cut knitting!

Elizabeth was up for signing up for the class and we'd spend Saturday afternoon / evening having a couple drinks, watching the lessons and going through the steps to create this Fair Isle Vest.

Fair Isle is a type of knitting technique used to create patterns with multiple colors.  It is named after Fair Isle, a tiny island in the north of Scotland, that forms part of the Shetland islands. Traditional Fair Isle patterns have a limited palette of five or so colors, use only two colors per row, are worked in the round, and limit the length of a run (at most 7 stitches) of any particular color. And have limited if any, ends to weave in.

This differs from Intarsia 

Intarsia is a type of knitting technique used to create patterns with multiple colors in blocks of colors to create patterns, such as checker boards or argyle and have a bunch of ends to weave in.

Ultimately with Intarsia you end up with a single layer of wool and with Fair Isle you end up with a double layer of wool and a much heavier (and warmer) fabric.  

In the lovely chilly temps of December 2012, Elizabeth and I started swatching.  To make sure we had gauge for our vests.  

Swatching is like flirting with the yarn and the needles you intend on using to find out if they meet the pattern specifications.  Because the final product is knit in the round and not back and forth the swatch needs to be knit in a similar fashion, doing a 4" swatch in the round would be best, however who has time for that when there is real knitting to be done!!  So the swatch is knit always on the right side, which means that you break the yarn at the end of the row and start the next row on the right side and knit to the left, break the yarn and start on the right and knit to the left and so on, in pattern until you reach 4".

Mine is on top Elizabeth's below
I went with the recommended colors and wool, Elizabeth went wild!
Once you are done with the swatch you measure to make sure you are at gauge, the number of stitches per inch, you may need to swatch again if you are not on gauge or take a risk and go up or down a needle size and hope that meets gauge.

The next part is casting on for the bottom ribbing.  This is knit in the round so you knit 1 purl 1 all the way around to make that band.   Always being careful to join so you don't twist.  If you twist you get a?  Yes! A Mobius strip!

I wasn't careful and guess what!  A math majors delight!

And this time it is correct.  The wool looks a different color due to the background.

 Once the band is done the fun starts!

I couldn't be more pleased with my even and smooth knitting.

And occasionally you have to take a good look at  your work and you realize you screwed up, again.

One of these box rows is not like the other. 
Look at the top!

So I TINKed 6 rounds.  TINK - KNIT backwards,  ha ha ha, even knitters have geeky humor; it's also called "frogging"rip it rip it rip it, sounds like a frog... yeah I'm losing you on that one.

Ah Much better
 And we are back on track!!

We were also nearing the point where Elizabeth managed to get herself a new job in NYC and was going to be leaving and there would be no more Saturday night knitting, which really did kind of suck because we were just getting to the steeking part and after that would be the cutting part.

Steeking is knitting about 8 stitches in alternating color of the round you are working on, this gives the knitter a line to cut down and with Shetland wool, it is very sticky and it sticks to itself and kind of felts together.  Setting up the steek was pretty easy.  It was deciding when to start the steek I struggled with. 

We are Steeked!

Admittedley this is a little hard to figure out what is going on in these pictures.  Mine (top) shows the armhole steek started.  This allows for the garment to continue to be knitted in the round, two arm holes and the V neck steek.

As the knitting progressed the steek looks like this:  See the double column?  That is the middle where the knitting will be cut. 

The inside

All in it looked like this:  (it was this way for well over a year before I mustered up the nerve to cut the steeks)

The steeks were reinforced, probably not necessary and then cut. Kind of exciting cutting the knitting!

Once the knitting was cut the shoulder seams (the stitches on holders at the top) were sewn together.  I should say that I did this incorrectly 3 times... I have no idea why, I managed to not once, not twice but three times sew the front shoulder seams together...  

Pretty cool!

The shoulders sewn and neck and arm bands knitted in

And I really liked the detail of the miter in the neck band

The whole thing was soaked and stretched and pinned and I waited for it to dry to try it on and see if I made it long enough. 


I have to soak and re-stretch it with a bit more vigor to add on about 2 inches.


It is wool, it will stretch and once upon a time sweaters were made in one size and stretched to the final size on a blocking board.  I do not have one of these boards.  I'll figure it out.

Beth, still not able to report a completed knitting project! 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Gansett 1/2 - Recap

Narragansett is one of my favorite places to run, what could be better than a race in Narragansett...  yeah, I forget about how much I hate the Blessing of the Fleet and that is in Narragansett...

This was the second  year of the race, I can't remember why I missed the first year, there must have been something going on.

In the beginning of the year I had big plans, sub 2 1/2 for 2015.  Didn't happen, wasn't even on my radar for this race.  I didn't put in the work to meet that goal.  

A goal:  2:11  I KNOW this was really unrealistic - 2:10 is my PR
B goal:  2:20  Kinda figured I could hold it together ending up with a 10:41 pace, HA HA!!
C goal:  don't die, OK honestly, considering my track record this year, Finish!!

The weather was iffy, I donned on my WTAC long sleeve shirt, figuring that would help protect from the cold rain and the usual wind on Ocean Road.  It did.  Good call.  I can hike up the sleeves and they stayed that way most of the 13.1

The course is on familiar roads, there are two out and backs, not my favorite thing to run.  The runners passing on my right then on my left make me dizzy.  I tried very hard to pay attention to the pack I was running with.

I started with the 2:15 pace group, and wanted to stay between 10 - 10:30 pace.  On Rte 108, a down hill, I got in front of the pack.   I played the pros and cons of this move as I ran along.  I really felt great and comfortable.  I regretted this move as I ran all on my own, into the wind on Ocean Road and the 2:15 pace group passed me.  I couldn't muster up anything to stick with them and watched Dave Haskett saunter along with about 10 people in tow  Would have staying with them helped?  Yes.  I felt good and love that slight down hill on 108 and wasn't thinking ahead to Ocean Road out to Pt Judith Lighthouse and the wind I would have to fight, I cursed myself.  

On the Pt Judith out and back I saw Patti, Angie, and Emily.  At mile 13 Patti passed me asking if I ran a 1/2 yesterday.  Ha!  No!  I just couldn't hold my desired pace.  I even walked in mile 13 and some guy says "Finish Strong!"  All I could do was smile and say, "yeah yeah, thanks".

This was a great race, despite the out and backs.  It was well run and supported.  I really have no desire to compete and feel really uncomfortable when people cheer me on probably thinking this is my first 1/2 or something like that.  How many have I done?  I have no clue, guess I'll take a stroll on over to Athlinks and do a count?  Oh 11, not including the one I got lost and the other one that actually measured 12.5 miles.   So this was #12 of the true 13.1 distance.  Not my worst, not my best, kinda average: 2:25. 

My favorite 1/2 will always be my second.  I was so unprepared for my first, finishing at a 3:20 not having trained or even run anything longer than a 5K road race!  I seriously trained and came back the next year, same course, with a respectable 2:17, and a few months later I finished my first full marathon, hooked on running.

So why the trip down memory lane there Beth?  I had 2 hours and 25 minutes to think about running and racing and competing.  Saying I'm not competitive is an outright lie.  I am, I always have been and I always will be.   I have the winter to build a base, regroup, and plan for next year.  

Beth, still hooked on running, not frustrated or disappointed, happier running with friends than running in races

Friday, October 23, 2015

Weekly Recap: 10/19 - 10/25 (Final)









Gansett 1/2


Monday - (2.4 miles)Knitting day.  No TRX.  I tried to get Gizzy out with the wheels before dinner and he wasn't having any of it, I was home, therefore it was dinner time. Dog Logic?  Jax was a nightmare on our walk.  Barking, jumping, lunging, and trying to chase everything, including cars.  I have no idea what crawled into his pea brain.

Tuesday - (5.7 miles) Awesome run, nice pace I had to work at maintaining, the slightly cooler weather helps me a lot, plus remembering a couple puffs of Albuterol.  Yoga after work and some kibitzing with Jennifer and Angie at Fat Belly's.  Yeah, we recruited a third.  I do miss yoga, Renee was a bit less gentle and there was a lot of planking front and side.  I have to figure out how to strengthen my wrists, they really ache after a few minutes of down dog and planks. Plus they don't bend to 90 degrees like most people's wrists.  Are you checking yours?  I sprained mine a lot as a little girl falling out of trees and barn lofts, I've got about a 45 degree bend, maybe a little more.  Either the weak wrists or the lack of flexibility causes a bit of pain.

Wednesday - (5.7 miles / 2.2 miles) Faith texted to find out what route I was running and I was running the same ast Tue and she checked my Strava to figure out where I'd be after she got out of class.  About 2.5 miles in we met up on the back side of Avery Point and ran the rest of the loop.  Nice to run and catch up, it's been quite a while.  Complete breakdown of what happened during her BQ attempt at the Hartford Marathon and what her plans are for BQ in the future. While she said (before Hartford) that was her only attempt, I doubt it.  She is far to stubborn to let that idea go.   Gus was the usual dream to walk.

Thursday - (3.1 miles / 2.6) After a crappy nights sleep, I had a crappy day, and let all things just get crappy, even my run.  Fortunately a dinner out with some gal pals I haven't seen in what seems like forever helped immensely, we had some bitching to do and a lot of laughs!  LOTS OF LAUGHS, I think the other diners were glad we left so they didn't have to listen to the riotous din of our hen party.  Hopefully we can get back on our regular schedule now that everything is settling in for the long winter's nap.  While summer is known for get togethers, somehow it seems like fall/winter are more conducive to schedule dinner out!  Not quite sure who did what with Jax but he was fun to walk, no pulling, no barking, no lunging, no chasing... huh.  I maneuvered him down a street a bunch of dogs live on so he could have a fun time smelling and also go somewhere Gus doesn't go.

Friday - (3.1 miles / ??)Excellent nights sleep!!  Had time for an unusual Friday lunch run. After some fiddling with my Space Watch I realized I had left it on and I really figured I'd have 30 minutes of battery for a 5K.  Not so much, it died less than a mile into the run.  Oh well.  A friend along the route was out surveying the summers damage to the front yard and wanted to know why I was so busy to never stop by.  I said I wave every day when I run past.  HA HA HA...  nice 10 minute catch up with her.

Saturday - Stairs with Jennifer in the morning

What happened:  Nothing.  I re-started the Walking Dead Mystery Knit Along  I used yarn in my stash $53 is a little rich for my budget considering I have a closet full of yarn.  I mixed up some yarn overs and was off on my stitch count.  Tuned in to some Grimm and fixed that mess in three hours.  Considered giving the new ASICS Noosas a test run and went to pick up my bib for Gansett instead.  No dog walk, no nothing...  The 1/2 isn't until late morning.  I'll get out for a little dog jog (ha big plans) in the morning.

Sunday - Gansett Half Marathon - to say I am a little apprehensive about this is lying, I am very apprehensive about this.  I can run the miles, but at what pace.  Speedwork has been no existent so a sub 2 is out the window.  I bet I can manage a sub 2:30, wonder if I have a sub 2:15 in me?  Or maybe I just run the 13.1 miles and enjoy being out for a run in a beautiful town to run in in a race put on by runners for runners and benefiting their communities youth runners?  I have debated deferring, but after Mikey's crack in the gym the other day, I'll suck it up and run at what ever pace seems to be right for the day.

What happened - I started I finished I really like running I really don't like competing or is it racing or is it running in organized races?  I have no idea...   recap to come.

Beth, completely at peace with her pace.  (and spell checked for this Saturday update)

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Weekly Recap: 10/12 - 10/18 (final)







I keep feeling like there is something I'm forgetting this week...  Not sure what that is...

Monday - Rest day.  Started the crochet edging on the sweater.  I'm not much of a crocheter, so this will be fun.  TRX was good.  Dog walk.  I do enjoy my hour of wandering around my neighborhood or the neighboring neighborhood or the next town over.

Tuesday - Run day!  Yoga day!  As fall goes my speed picks up a little bit.  I also vowed to be consistent with the inhaler, two puffs before every run.  My plan was to run 5, then run 6 on Tuesday and 7 on Wednesday.  and we can see how that worked out... or didn't...    Yoga keeps me out late, well the socializing after, so no dog walk.

Wednesday - It was windy and delightful.  This wind off the water will suck when the temps are below 30, now, in the 50's and 60's it is delightful.  

Thursday - I went left out of the gate and had a peppy pace, I attempted to keep this up for the route.  It slowed as I went however the GAP (Grade Adjusted Pace) shows that I kept pretty consistent. I'm pleased.

Friday - Bike ride with Jennifer, nice slow and easy trek up and down the bike path followed by a little socializing.  I do prefer a Friday afternoon nap, but we don't always get what we prefer.  It was nice to be on the bike other than realizing I need one more layer than I think I do!!!!

Saturday -  When Nicole sent out the text about her last 20 miler before Philly I was happy to meet her at 7 a.m. be part of the first 8.  Then she told me she was doing a 10 5 and 5 loop to make the 20, would I be interested in 10.  Sure!  During the run she gave me the option to bail at 6, 8, or do the full 10. We had a nice peppy pace for what was going to be a 20 mile run for her and a 10 mile run for me.  I was a little worried she'd be alone after 6 but I got everything together and could keep up.  At 8 I hemmed and hawed and thought, oh hell it's only 2 miles, and she has Jenn and Mary meeting her at 9 a.m. for the last 10, I'd love to see both of them, Mary just finished her first marathon (4:38) at Mohawk and Jenn PRd (by 20 minutes!!) in an impromptu switch from the Hartford 1/2 marathon to the Hartford full marathon.  

Nicole is so ready for Philly, she was confident and strong and talked nearly the whole 10 miles.  I did say I needed a mile to get my breathing and thoughts together. I was tired from not a lot of sleep.  Gizmo had a rough night and wasn't having anything of anyone getting any sleep if he wasn't.  We were about 7 miles in when we ventured on to the subject of the old man.  I was glad we waited, any earlier and I may have fell victim to my lack of sleep and bailed earlier.  It was perfect timing as we were reaching the point that is oh so familiar to both of us with 2 miles left to cruise on in to Narragansett under the towers.  

At one point, Nicole said, we HAVE to slow down.  SO we did, and then she looked at her watch and said we HAVE to go faster I can get a 10 mile PR!  SO we went faster and the PR didn't happen, a little too late and not enough gas and remembering she still had 10 more miles left to run after this 10.  I figured Mary and Jenn would keep her honest and on pace.  This was the run where she needed to run the last mile at Marathon pace.  She was pretty close to marathon pace for the full run.  

I'm glad I stuck with her for the full 10, she was killing me for the last mile, I needed to be pushed.

My attempts to take a nap were thwarted by a still fussy Gizmo.  I decided it was time to break out the wheels and Dave fitted him to them and I took him to the park for a spin.  In the last week the use of his back legs has decreased substantially.  While I have the strength to cart him around, I'd really rather he did SOME work.  We have a few things we need to work on, however he can pull himself around and seems quite happy to not be attached to me when outside.  Will he run around in them like Diesel used to?  Time will tell.

Sunday - Chase Away Childhood Cancer Fun Run at Bridebrook Park, Niantic.  Cancer sucks.  Billed as a 5K it was a bit over. 4 laps around Bridebrook on the crushed stone path.  Nice way to end the week, although it was chilly two shirts and a hat were needed.   Several hundred people out waking or running to show Madeline support, I think that was very sweet and I hope it gave her the lift her parents hoped it would.

Beth, hoping for more than 4 hours of sleep this Saturday night...

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Weekly Recap: 10/5 - 10/11 (final)







Monday - Rory is back from Switzerland so knitting was on the agenda and I couldn't get in a run.  Got the last of the sweater sewn together and now to crochet the edging.  I don't have the right sized hook, well damn a trip to the craft store.  TRX was good, starting to get a little less painful, better step it up!

Tuesday - Ummm when did I last run?  It had been a while because last week was such a disaster. The 6 I did felt good, hit all three points because I had the time to go for 6, pleased with that!  Yoga is back on the agenda, I missed it.  It is hard to fit everything in....

Wednesday -   Not quite enough time for 6, so I hit Jupiter Point and Eastern Point and called it good.  I'm seriously not sure about the GT1000, I think they are too stiff, my back hurts a bit and my knee hurts.  Switched it up for Thursdays run.

Thursday - I do love the Kayanos, they are comfy and I'm not feeling the same pains.  Hmmmmmm

Friday - Friend was in town from TX so we met in NYC for lunch.  I considered getting up and taking Gus for a trot around town to get in some sort of running miles.  I didn't.  I enjoyed actually sleeping in for the first time in a long long time.

Saturday - Westerly Track and Athletic Clubs annual Run for the Pumpkins 5K.  This year it became a trail run on some new the guys cut, and they did an excellent job.  Probably one of my worst 5K trail times in a long time, it happens.  Fun race and now that I'm kind of familiar with the trails I'll go out and explore.   Sounds like maybe NEMBA (New England Mountain Biking Association) will be getting involved to cut some bike trails.   Good when land can be purchased by the local land trusts and used for public use.

Sunday - "On the schedule are some hills and I really need to get in a long run, two weeks till Gansett, I am not prepared for my time goal, however I should at least be able to run the miles in some kind of decent time, or not.."

What happened, 6 mile run, casual pace, it's nice when things don't hurt.  I REALLY need to use that inhaler!!   Hills with the gals, that was fun!  Nice to do them on somewhat fresh legs not running a mile up hill TO the hill!!  I should start tracking times...

Gizzy and I went to Ninigret and logged over a mile!  I'm impressed.  My shoulders are not happy.  I really need to get Diesel's wheels down from the attic and see how that goes with him while there is still clear pavement.  The old guy may sleep for a few days, however based on the smile on the curmudgeons face, he is happy.

While I didn't log 10 running miles I did get over 10 miles for the day.  I'm good with that.

Beth, so so so happy fall is really here!!